In 1989, kosher was a virtually non-existent food category. It consisted of a group of mom/pop manufacturers and giants with kosher certification and little initiative to promote the category. When Kosherfest was launched that year, most of the exhibitors were pushing products like gefilte fish, chopped liver, stuffed cabbage, and kugel.
Fast forward to today. Kosher is now very much an industry and a category that has gone far beyond its traditional base of kosher-observing Jews. There are more than 200,000 kosher-certified products. At Kosherfest, the world’s largest kosher-certified products tradeshow (October 29 & 30 at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ) buyers will find everything from sushi to enchiladas to sausage. Kosherfest celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
“Who would have believed that sushi would become a basic staple in restaurant, pizza parlors, and at catered events, or for that matter that nearly 20% of the show would tout gluten-free products?” says Menachem Lubinsky, the founder of Kosherfest, who co-produces the show with Diversified Business Communications. “There was somewhat of a vision back then that perhaps kosher could be more than a certification; that it would emerge as a cuisine. Incredibly, kosher has reached that level and it is still rising.”
Kosherfest today hosts exhibitors from countries around the world, from Argentina to New Zealand, from South Africa to Israel. Products at Kosherfest encompass kosher-certified foods and beverages for retail sale, and ingredients and prepared foods for foodservice, including wine and spirits. The show gives manufacturers, distributors and suppliers of kosher-certified products and services the opportunity to reach thousands of mainstream and independent kosher trade buyers from across the globe.
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